Monday, October 19, 2015

The Bully And The Little Brother

Ezra Klein has a point here: even if Donald Trump doesn't win the GOP nomination, he'll be remembered for taking out Jeb Bush.

Over the past week, Trump and Bush have been in an argument that basically boils down to the question of was George W. Bush president on 9/11/2001?

Trump insists that Bush was president both prior to and during the 9/11 attacks, and he was therefore at least partly responsible for the security failures that permitted the tragedy. And to Trump's credit, there is considerable evidence that George W. Bush was president on 9/11/2001.

Jeb Bush's position is harder to parse: he argues that his brother was only responsible for what happened after 9/11, suggesting, perhaps, that someone else bore the responsibilities of the presidency on 9/11/2001. Or, to be a bit kinder to his position, he argues that the measure of as president isn't whether something like 9/11 happens, but whether it happens again
The result is this absolutely brutal interview CNN's Jake Tapper conducted with Bush. "If your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all," Tapper asks, "how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?"

Jeb looks absolutely terrible here, and he's letting Trump sucker him into this.  But Jeb doesn't have a choice: he can't not defend his brother's horrendous foreign policy record, even though it's largely indefensible. And so Jeb is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

On top of that, Bush, like Kevin McCarthy, gives away the game on Benghazi at the same time as Jake Tapper actually asks the right question here and Bush completely sticks his entire lower body into his mouth, let alone just his foot.  Not only does he make the Benghazi committee look like a bunch of fools, he also hurts his brother on 9/11 and the multiple times US embassy personnel were killed during Dubya's administration.

It's actually embarrassing how bad Jeb Bush is at this.  Didn't anyone in his organization think to come up with any real defense?  Or did they even bother, for as I've said, how do you defend the indefensible?

George W. really was the smart brother.

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